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Earthquakes and Helical Piles

Examined Structures Founded on Helical Piles Experienced Little-to-No Noticeable Damage from the January Earthquake in Alaska

David Northup, owner of Techno Metal Post of Alaska, was startled from his sleep in the wee hours of the morning in Homer, AK by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck south central Alaska on January 16.  “The shaking lasted about sixty seconds in Homer and about thirty seconds in Anchorage. Thankfully damage was minimal and no serious injuries were reported,” Northup commented. Click here to read news report

As a dealer for Techno Metal Post (TMP), Northup has completed many helical pile projects in the region, and he was anxious to learn how these structures faired from the effects of the quake.  “Since 2011, we have installed thousands of helical piles in this area, and many of these structures are located near the epicenter of the earthquake.  We have inspected several of the projects and have not seen any signs of settling, pile movement or drywall cracking,” said Northup.  “Several houses and cabins on the Kenai Peninsula are fully supported by our TMP helical piles and seemed to escape damage from the earthquake,” he added.

Techno Metal Post, with headquarters located in Thetford Mines, QC Canada (, has been a proud financial supporter of the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) Helical (Screw) Pile Seismic Research Study, which is being led by Dr. Amy Cerato of the University of Oklahoma.  Similar to the positive results seen by examining the structures on helical piles in Alaska, it is widely known that helical piles perform well against seismic forces.  Such is certainly the case with many, many structures located in Christchurch, New Zealand that survived the devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.  What has been missing is the scientific research on why helical piles perform well during seismic events, and Dr. Cerato is well into the DFI research study with recently completing comprehensive testing on the University of California San Diego shake table.  Dr. Cerato will be presenting some of the early findings from the testing on June 7 in Chicago at the DFI SuperPile’16 Conference.

“Like a lot of people in the deep foundation industry, we are very excited to hear Dr. Cerato’s presentation at SuperPile’16 as these test results represent a potentially huge step forward in learning how to minimize structure damage and save lives from disastrous earthquakes,” said Serge Larouche, Market Development Manager for Techno Metal Post.

May, 2016

Techno Metal Post

Contact Information:

Mr. Serge Larouche, Market Development Manager

Techno-Pieux, Inc.

1700 Rue Setlakwe

Thetford Mines QC G6G 8B2


(418) 334-2023

Toll Free: (877) 332-2139